Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game released by King on April 12, 2012 for Facebook, and on November 14, 2012 for iOS and Android smartphones. As of March 2013, Candy Crush Saga surpassed FarmVille 2 as the most popular game on Facebook, with 46 million average monthly users. It is a variation on their browser game Candy Crush. In November 2013, the "Dreamworld" expansion was launched, creating nocturnal-themed but more difficult versions of previously released levels. In December 2014, the game was released for Windows Phone.
The game is periodically updated, adding new "episodes" and playable levels; new levels are updated first on Facebook followed by Android and iPhone in late 2012. Candy Crush Saga has "episodes" of 15 levels each (the first two "episodes" have only 10 levels). An update to the game in November 2013 added the "Dreamworld" levels, giving players the opportunity to replay older levels with a new mechanic, which is also periodically updated. Template:As of, the Facebook edition has over 800 regular levels and over 600 Dreamworld levels, with new levels added every two weeks.
This game is a variation of match-three games such as Bejeweled. Each level has a game board filled with differently colored candies, and might contain obstacles. These different colors include the red jelly bean, the orange lozenge, the yellow lemon drop, green chiclets, the blue lollipop head, and the purple cluster. The basic move of this game is horizontally or vertically swapping the positions of two adjacent candies, to create sets of three (or more) candies of the same color. Each level contains a certain objective that must be completed in a given number of moves (or on a time limit); some levels require clearing "jelly" off the board by making matches on top of them, reaching a certain score, getting ingredient items to the bottom of the board, or having to clear certain amounts or combinations of candies. Levels may also contain blocks to make them more difficult, such as meringue or liquorice swirls, chocolate (which spreads across the board if left uncleared), bombs (which end the level if they are not matched before they go off), multi-layered icing blocks (with tin plates as the last layers), and others. Boosters can be earned or purchased to provide assistance during levels. In computational complexity theory, Candy Crush Saga (along with many other similar match three games) were proven to be NP-hard.
In a secondary campaign known as the "Dreamworld", an additional mechanic is introduced where players play earlier levels but also must maintain a balance on a moon-shaped scale throughout the level. Players must control their matches of two certain colors of candies so the scale does not become entirely unbalanced because a complete imbalance causes Dreamworld's mascot owl Odus to fall off the moon. However, filling up the moon scale and keeping it balanced for a certain number of moves will activate the Moon Struck event, causing either one or both of the colors of matching candies to be removed from the board completely, and the player is given a certain number of moves to perform until the scale is reset with two new colors.
Different "special candies" can be formed by matching a combination of 4 or 5 in a certain formation, such as a "Striped" candy (which clears either an entire row or column), a "Wrapped" candy (which acts like a bomb; clearing the 8 surrounding candies, falling, and exploding one more time), or a "Color Bomb" (which removes all candies with the same color of the one it is matched with). Special Candies can also be matched together, producing varying effects; for example, matching a color bomb with a striped candy turns all of the candies of its color into striped candies, which are immediately detonated.
Other special candies which appear on the boards for free can be purchased from the in-game store, or won from the Candy Crush Booster Wheel. These include Jelly Fish in jelly clearing boards which clear 3 pieces from the board at random, the Coconut Wheel on ingredient dropping boards which changes three candies in a row into striped candies, and Lucky Candy in recipe boards which when matched change to one of the types of pieces the player needs to clear the objective. The Booster Wheel also offers a chance to win a jackpot of all boosters in one spin. Other pieces known as Blockers appear on boards to add to the challenge: Icing (also called Meringues) cannot be moved and can only be removed by matching next to it, Liquorice Locks cage off single pieces of candy to prevent them from use, Chocolate pieces will multiply if not cleared, Liquorice Swirls cannot be easily removed with Special Candies, Candy Bombs will explode and end the level early if they are not cleared, Multilayered Icing requires multiple matches to remove, Chocolate Spawners will produce Chocolate pieces at all times, Marmalade guards Special Candies from use, Cake Bombs can clear the entire board once cleared, and Toffee Tornadoes move on the board destroying pieces and shattering the tile beneath them to prevent use for one turn. Other pieces also appear on levels such as Chameleon Candies which switch colors every turn, Mystery Candies which randomly turn into a Special Candy or a Blocker, and Extra Time Candies on time limit levels.
The player can also purchase various Boosters to attempt to win levels more easily or extend play after a lost level; Lollipop Hammer clears a single piece from the board, Extra Moves can be purchased if running out of moves at the end of a game, Free Switch allows players to switch two pieces that do not possibly match, Sweet Teeth to clear out Blockers and Jelly, Bomb Coolers to add onto Candy Bomb timers if the timer runs out, and the Bubblegum Troll to stop Chocolate Spawners from spawning chocolate from its sides. The Dreamworld levels have their own special boosters: the Restore Balance booster to reset the Moon Scale for 5 turns and the Moon Struck booster to automatically activate Moon Struck.
The game is primarily monetized through in-app purchases (through either a credit card, iTunes credits or Google Play credits); players begin with five "lives", lost whenever a level is failed. This applies to all of King's games. When they are exhausted, users can either send requests to their Facebook friends for more lives, wait for them to replenish themselves (a life is restored every half-hour), or purchase them. At certain points, primarily at the start of new "episodes", users must also either purchase, or receive a request from at least three friends before they may access the next set of levels. Boosters, to make the levels easier, can also be bought using in-app purchases.
Once all levels in an episode are completed, the next episode (starting at episode 3) is locked and the player must either get three friends on Facebook to send them "tickets" to unlock the next episode, it can be unlocked directly through the in-game store, or occasionally the game will allow the player to move on for free if the player has not been able to unlock the next area. If the game is not linked to the player's Facebook account, a new level can be unlocked by playing a Mystery Quest, a random previous level with a higher point threshold for winning. Three Mystery Quests must be completed before the next episode is unlocked, and a player can only complete one Mystery Quest in a single 24-hour period. Recently the option to unlock episodes by playing mystery quests is only available after several days have passed and no help is received through friend requests on Facebook. Other than waiting the time period until mystery quests are available, using in app purchase is the only way to unlock episodes.
Throughout the game, the player solves puzzles so Tiffi (short for Toffette) can solve problems plaguing the residents of the Candy Kingdom. These include tutorial guide Mr. Toffee, whose voice was changed from an over-the-top French accent in the original version of the game into a more modest deep male voice, the Easter Bunny, the shop owner Mr. Yeti, Odus the owl from Dreamworld levels, the villainous Bubblegum Troll, and many others.
Candy Crush Saga had over ten million downloads in December 2012 alone. In July 2013, it was estimated that Candy Crush Saga at the time had about 6.7 million active users and earned revenue of $633,000 per day in the US section of the iOS App Store alone. In November 2013, the game had been installed 500 million times across Facebook and iOS and Android devices. According to Business Insider, Candy Crush Saga is the most downloaded iOS app for 2013.
Candy Crush received particular mention in Hong Kong media, with reports that one in seven Hong Kong citizens plays the game. The game is also featured in Psy's music video "Gentleman". In December 2013, King entered the Japanese market with a series of television commercials in Japan, and by December 4 it had become the 23rd most downloaded game in Japan on Android devices and number 1 most downloaded from the App Store.
According to review aggregator website Metacritic, the game received an average review score of 79/100, indicating generally positive reviews. Ellie Gibson of Eurogamer referred to Candy Crush Saga as 2013's "Game of the Year".
Including all of 2014, Candy Crush Saga players spent over $1.33 billion on in-app purchases which was a decline from the previous year, since in the second half of 2013 players spent over $1.04 billion.
In May 2014, a sequel titled Candy Crush Soda Saga was soft launched by King, with a similar design but new gameplay dynamics, such as a soda bottle piece that can shift gravity. As of March 10, 2015, there are 300 "Candy Crush Soda Saga" levels.
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